Garnets are by far one of my favorite gemstones. I just love the color of them. They’re deep and rich like fine wine and full of romance and mystery.
And the great thing about garnets is the fact that they are an inexpensive stone (which also makes it extremely popular).
Garnet is the official birthstone for the month of January and also the gemstone for the zodiac astral sign Aquarius (Jan. 22 – Feb. 21).
Garnets can even be used as the gem for the heart chakra, which helps ground your emotions.
Garnet is Latin
Garnet is a Latin word meaning pomegranate (which is a plant with bright, red seeds – see picture left). Looking at the seeds make it pretty obvious how garnet got its name.
Garnet is a pretty durable gem. 7.5 on the MOH’s scale of hardness, which means you can wear it all of the time with little fear of chipping or breaking the stone. Garnet’s specific gravity is 4.1 (for all you geeks). That means it actually is denser and heavier than a diamond.
(It also has the same isometric cubic structure as a diamond does… Neat, eh?)
Garnet stands for…
Garnets were used in medieval times as a cure for depression, it was said to give courage, and it also helped protect one against nightmares.
Nowadays, garnet stands for friendship. But some say it also helps purify the blood, enhances circulation, balances our well being and improves our relationships. Some even go so far as to claim that it increases our sex drive (said to be doubled if your birthday is in January).
So as you can see, garnets are all over the board with deep rooted legends and myths dating back to the bible (on the ark with Noah as an illumination stone) and showing up in ancient Egypt to the date of 3100 BC.
Garnets are found just about everywhere in the world. And they should, considering they are made up of a group of silica-based minerals that occur in metamorphic rocks that make up the Earth’s crust.
Main locations for mining garnets are huge and vast: Ural mountains, Scotland, Switzerland, Argentina, Namibia, Mexico, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Zambia, Bekily, Pakistan, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Korea, Saxony, Hungary, New Zealand, Finland, Zimbabwe, Sri-Lanka, Brazil, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Madagascar, East Africa, Republic of Mali, Tanzania, Australia, India, Bohemia, Kenya, Canada, South Africa (home of the Cape ruby), California, and last but not least, Arizona (which gives us the beautiful Arizona ruby. – The Arizona ruby and the Cape Ruby are garnets with a deep, red hue that looks similar to a ruby).
Garnets come in 6 different varieties. They are:
- Andradite (Demantoid) – Normally found in colors of yellow/orange and black.
- Spessartine – Found in oranges and browns.
- Almandine – Being one of the most popular garnets, almandine comes in shades of reds and purples (also produces a gem called carbuncle or live coal).
- Pyrope – Another popular garnet that comes in purplish and red hues (pyrope is Greek for “fire-eyed”).
- Grossular – This is a great gem that gives us tsavorite. This gemstone is a transparent green gem that was discovered in Tanzania in 1968. Some call this gorgeous gem the “South African Jade”. Grossulars can come in colors of yellow, green, white and pink. Hessonite comes from this rock which is also called the cinnamon stone.
- Uvarovite – Uvarovites are garnets that only come in shades of green. These are very rare, very expensive and impossible to find.
And then there are plenty of mixed combinations of garnets, like rhodolites. Rhodolites are pretty popular in jewelry and gem collectors love them. This stone is a cross between pyrope and almandine and the colors are normally more of a purplish-red.
Garnet even has a variety that is more like purple-violet shades known as “grape garnets”. Beautiful gems, cool colors that even a grape ape would like.
Garnets Change Color
One fascinating thing about garnets that most people do not know, is that some garnets have the ability to color-change. They can change hues just like the alexandrite gemstone does. Garnets (Malaia) can change from shades of blue/green in daylight, to reddish colors in incandescent light.
Do note that these “blue” shades of garnet are only found in this particular color-changing garnet. They are an exception to the rule. Blue is not found in any other variety. Most garnets stick to the standard colors of red, purple, green, yellow, orange, pink and brown.
Garnet Anniversary Gifts
Being an inexpensive gemstone, garnet works perfect for many gift giving occasions besides the normal January’s birthday. Garnet is also the official gemstone to give for the anniversaries of the 2nd, 6th, 15th, 18th, 19th and the 25th anniversary.
So why not give a Garnet?
Most women and men love the look of garnets with their deep, rich, rustic hues… You can’t go wrong with them.
They make the perfect gift!
Now the only mystery left is:
How did Noah get garnet to glow?
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Author Richard Scott. Certified Diamontologist\Gemologist. 30 years of experience.
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